Jalal F. Colorado

Prisons for Profit

If we don't change now, things will only get worse.

Dear Madame/Mr. President:

What could happen when your law-abiding son or daughter goes for a walk, kidnapping? Getting hit by a car? Getting mugged? Add ‘Getting arrested and doing hard time in the penitentiary’ to your list of things to worry about. You pay tax money which ends up in the pockets of private for profit prison corporations who in turn create quotas for police officers. Your child is then arrested for a crime he didn’t commit because the police officer who arrested him couldn’t risk his job and providing for his family by failing his quota. Your child arrives in jail and is forced to work for as little as 25 cents an hour, if he does not do so he will be put in an isolation until he changes his mind.

At first, giving work to private for profit prisons was seen as a way to save tax money; but as of last year, we’ve been losing more money than we had been saving. "Criminal: How Lockup Quotas and “Low-Crime Taxes” Guarantee Profits for Private Prison Corporations By In The Public Interest" states that, “Numerous Studies and audits have shown these claims [By the private prison industry] of the cost savings to be illusory.”  As well as this, due to the nature of the contracts signed between the private prison corporations and the US government, the US government must provide an X number of prisoners to the contracted prisons or else we will be penalized for each empty cell & bed, creating a ‘Low-Crime Tax’.

What kind of world do we live in for there to be a ‘Low-Crime Tax’? Should we start praising criminals for saving state money & encourage crime? Should we just arrest innocent people? What kind of world do we live in for there to be a legal way to make money off of crime & prisoners? These are all hard questions to answer, but we won’t need to ask these questions in the first place if we just start to rid America of private prisons.

Have you ever heard someone say, “Slavery has never truly ended.” ? Well, they were right. Modern day slavery takes place everyday, legally, in today’s America. I’m not comparing slavery with today’s minimum wage and inflation. I’m comparing it to what today’s prisoners are made to do and what they will face should they not obey. Very commonly private prisons force their prisoners to work for unrealistically low wages by the hour and put any prisoners who refuse to work in an isolation cell. If you do not work, you will be stripped of human contact, sunlight, an adequate living space and decent food for an undefined amount of time. Is this fair punishment for someone who had a drug problem? Is this fair punishment for someone who was starving and stole some food? Is this fair punishment for someone who just messed up? No. This isn’t fair. This isn’t a deterrent, this isn’t reformation, this isn’t retribution, this is greed!

Since 1984 private for profit prisons have been ruining the country and the dynamics of police-Samaritan relationships whilst making money off your incarcerated children. Not only are they responsible for an uncountable amount of incarcerations, the quotas made in response to the state-signed contracts hardly help the tension which takes place on the street. How is a police force supposed to be seen as friendly when they fabricate crimes and arrest innocent people to keep their jobs? Dissent will spread as long as there is reason for dissent. That being said, when you are arrested for a crime you didn’t commit and no one bats an eye, would you turn to crime? When you are unfairly given a criminal record, removing numerous job opportunities and you are already seen and treated as a criminal, what do you have to lose in the eyes of the law?

YOU must end this, you must speak out against the private for profit prison industry. It is YOUR responsibility to compensate those negatively affected by this devilish system. It is YOUR responsibility to open an investigation on how inmates are treated in the prison system and punish anyone involved in the unfair treatment of prisoners. It is not the prisoners who need be reformed, it is the Police Departments, it is the Prisons, it is the laws which need reform. It is your job to reform them.


Jalal F

Wheat Ridge HS

Composition for the College Bound English

Twelfth graders in Colorado

All letters from this group →